Two wooden tam tamsin from tree trunks in Port Vila, Vanuatu
The history of Port Vila alone is impressive — add that to the story of the entire South Pacific, and you've got the Vanuatu Cultural Center. It houses one of the most extensive collections of South Pacific artifacts on the planet. Outrigger canoes, photos, videos and traditional sand drawing exhibitions await.
Slippery path with guide ropes at Meele Cascades Waterfalls in Port Vila, Vanuatu
It gets pretty hot and sticky on a tropical island. Do like the locals do and cool down at the Mele Cascades Waterfall. At 150 feet high, the spray alone is refreshing. A bus ride and a brief walk up the valley gets you to this spectacular feat of nature.
A quick drive and a water taxi trip will bring you to the tiny Hideaway Island. Jump right in and snorkel in crystal clear waters teeming with rainbows of fish. Jump onboard a Port Vila, Vanuatu cruise to swim to the world's only underwater post office, and post a waterproof postcard to your friends back home.
For cheap eats, go to Mama's Market, where you can sample taro root pancakes, Vanuatu French fries — delicious flakes of coconut deep fried and salted to perfection —or traditional lap lap, grated yam and banana cooked with coconut cream in an earthen oven. Or dine al fresco along the waterfront: Modern eateries serve up French-inspired takes on local fish and grass-fed beef, which is some of the world's best.
Along Wharf Road in the center of town, you'll see the charming Vanuatu Handicraft Market. Here, local vendors sell authentic Vanuatu wooden carvings, as well as prints and other crafts. If you're looking for something a bit more tailored during your cruise, pop in at the nearby Pandanus shop, which supports local creators.